In June 2011, a near-unanimous vote dissolved the Wesleyan Women constitution and its auxiliary department designation. While still an important ministry within the denomination, local churches and districts are more empowered to design women’s ministries that are relative to the areas where they have a presence. Now, the ministry is known as the Wesleyan Women's Movement.
That group of 19 women, both pastors and laypersons from Wesleyan churches across North America, met in a round table fashion to “celebrate a rich heritage [of ministry] and imagine a bright future for the women of The Wesleyan Church.” Rev. Andrea Summers, director of the Women's Ministry for The Wesleyan Church, described the meeting as “dynamic.”
Rev. Summers invited women both seasoned and new to discuss the future of the Wesleyan Women's Movement. Some in attendance serve as pastors in vocational ministry, others are successful businesswomen, and some are influential stay-at-home moms.
“Varied viewpoints reflect the geographic, ethnic, vocational, and generational diversity of the women our ministry will be trying to reach in the future, and their input at this ground-level stage is invaluable,” said Andrea.
Cheryl Mansell of the Greater Ohio District served with Wesleyan Women for 34 years, and described the round table as “a personal blessing as I witnessed a new chapter of the story being written.” She notes that a new and vital chapter in the women’s ministry history is being written.
“I can just imagine what God will do through the current generation of incredibly vibrant, powerfully prayerful, Christ-focused women,” said Cheryl.
Not only did the round table provide an opportunity to cast vision for the direction of the Wesleyan Women's Movement, it allowed the women to build community among themselves.
“I enjoyed getting to know [about the Wesleyan Women's Movement] almost as much as I enjoyed getting to know them individually,” said Elisabeth Wang, a lay leader at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Andrea knows the task before her is a big endeavor. But she is encouraged and jumping into the role enthusiastically.
“Everything I do is with the understanding that I am standing on the shoulders of gifted women who have led ahead of me,” she says. “The best is yet to come.”
Clear objectives and initiatives are currently being defined as the Wesleyan Women's Movement crafts its vision and mission into a strategy that enables women to grow in faith and g